There are over 100 different types of arthritis. The cause of most types is unknown. Scientists are studying the role of genetics, lifestyle, and diet to determine how important each of these factors are
in development of the various types of arthritis.
Juvenile Rheumatoid Arthritis
Juvenile Rheumatoid Arthritis is the most common form of arthritis in children. In some children it may be very mild and cause few problems, while in others it can be persistent and cause joint and tissue
damage over time. It some cases it may produce serious complications.
The most common symptoms of this type of arthritis are joint inflammation, joint contracture, joint damage and an alteration or change in growth. Children may also suffer from morning stiffness and weakness in
muscles and other soft tissues around the joints. These symptoms vary from child to child and day to day.
There is no test to diagnose Juvenile Rheumatoid Arthritis. Therefore, the diagnosis is made when other illnesses have been ruled out and arthritis symptoms have persisted for at least six weeks.
Osteoarthritis is considered the oldest and most common type of arthritis. It affects almost 21 million people and is responsible for almost 7 million visits to doctors every year. Eighty percent of the
people affected suffer from some form of pain or physical limitation. Osteoarthritis is characterized by the breakdown of the joint's cartilage. Cartilage is the cushion at the ends of the bones.
When the cartilage breaks down, the bones rub against each other, which causes pain and loss of movement.
This type of arthritis generally begins at middle age or older. It may range from very mild to very severe. It generally affects the hands, and weight bearing joints, such as the knees and hips.
Most doctors consider this an inevitable part of aging. Injuries due to sports, accidents, or work activity may increase the risk of developing this form of arthritis.
Doctors make this diagnosis based upon a physical examination, a history of the symptoms and x-rays. Only one-third of people shown to have osteoarthritis in x-rays actually have symptoms of this condition.
Traditional medical treatment for this condition focuses on reducing pain with medication, possible application of heat and cold therapy, and exercise. Sometimes surgery is also prescribed as a relief to pain.
Rheumatoid arthritis affects over 2 million people, most of them women. It is an autoimmune disease that involves inflammation of the membrane lining of the joints and/or other internal organs that usually
begins in middle age but may begin as early as the 20's. It may affect many different joints with periods of activity and remission. It may be called bursitis when the inflammation affects the bursa, the
fluid-filled sac that acts as a cushion between the muscles and tendons.
Rheumatoid arthritis is a systemic disease that affects the entire body. It can cause pain, stiffness, warmth, redness, and swelling. It can cause joints to lose their shape and alignment, which in turn
causes pain and loss of movement.
In addition to symptoms in the joints, it may cause a loss of appetite, fatigue, fever, loss of energy, anemia, and lumps of tissue under the skin called rheumatoid nodules. It can affect many other parts of
the body beside the limbs.
Pain and swelling may occur in the same joints on both sides of the body and symptoms usually begin in the hands and feet. However, all limb joints may develop Rheumatoid Arthritis.
It is diagnosed on the overall pattern of symptoms, medical history, physical examination, x-rays, and lab tests for rheumatoid factor, an antibody found in the blood of approximately 80% of those with this condition.
Standard medical treatment focuses on relieving pain, reducing inflammation, stopping or slowing joint damage and improving functions. This is accomplished with a variety of drugs and usually a combination of
exercise, rest, and physical or occupational therapy. Surgery may also be an option for damaged joints.
Ankylosing Spondylitis is a chronic disease that primarily affects the spine. The joints and ligaments that permit the back to move become inflamed and the joints and bones may become fused together.
As with most other forms of arthritis, the cause of this condition is unknown but a genetic factor has been identified and may play some role. However, other factors are involved in the development of this
Sjogren's Syndrome is an autoimmune disease that causes dry mouth and dry eyes. It primarily affects women over the age of 45, but rarely is found before the age of 21. It may also produce swelling,
difficulty chewing or swallowing, a dry cough, dental cavities, oral yeast infections, dry nose and throat, dry lungs, and fatigue.
The cause of this disease is unknown. It may be due to genetics, viral infections or hormone factors. It may occur alone or secondary to other rheumatic diseases, such as rheumatoid arthritis.
It is diagnosed through a physical examination with lab tests, chest x-rays, lip biopsy, Schirmer test, slit-lamp exam, and urine test. Standard medical treatment relies on medications, exercise, artificial
tears, increased water intake, moisturizers and lubricants.
Windsong Therapy and Wellness treats the soft tissue dealing with joint protection. The damage that has been done in rheumatoid arthritis cannot be cured. However, our methods can reduce pain, increase
function and enhance quality of life.
Traditional Occupational Therapy & Physical Therapy use modalities, put on hot packs and give joint protection exercises but do nothing to treat the joint integrity or the fascial system. If the person has
terrible posture, they do nothing to correct that. Therefore, they are not correcting the stress on the joints that may be causing them to breakdown. Traditional therapy treats mainly the symptoms and
muscles, whereas we treat the fascial system. Fascia causes most of the problem because of the pulls and torsions it can create in the body.
Windsong Therapy and Wellness treats the whole body to relieve restrictions, adhesions and torsions in the body in order to balance it. A balanced body will create less stress on the affected joints. We will always work to prolong joint integrity and can be very successful with types of arthritis other than rheumatoid arthritis because of the nature of that disease.
By working to keep the fascia soft and pliable we keep the body balanced and mobile. That prevents further compression in the spine and weight baring joints. If the body is unbalanced and a person is
leaning forward, they are putting more stress on their knees and joints, which causes the joints to breakdown more quickly.
We teach patients home programs that fit their lifestyle so they may independently manage their condition. We also teach joint protection techniques for prolonged quality of life.
1. Arthritis Foundation, Atlanta, GA, 2001
2. National Institute of Health, Bethesda, MD, 2002